A 13-year-old St. Petersburg teen was charged with attempted murder Friday after authorities said he fired several shots at another teen who was taunting him.
The teen turned himself in at a police station and was booked into a juvenile detention center following Wednesday's shooting. The Associated Press is not identifying him because he's a minor.
According to St. Petersburg police, the suspect was standing on the sidewalk of a residential neighborhood with a group of teens when 15-year-old Dinarick Ford rode by on a bike. The teens exchanged heated words and the suspect allegedly pulled out a small-caliber gun and fired several times, hitting Ford three times in the upper body, police said.
"Unfortunately this appears to be a reoccurrence of a growing and disturbing phenomenon where young adolescent teens not only get access to guns, but seem to have no qualms about using them for the slightest provocation," said St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz.
It's unclear where the suspect got the gun. The Tampa Bay Times reports he declined an interview with detectives on the advice of his attorney.
Pinellas-Pasco Chief Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett said prosecutors will consider the possibility of seeking adult charges against the teen depending on how badly the victim was hurt and the suspect's prior record.
"The level of violence by these kids is astounding, and it's downright scary, quite frankly," Bartlett said. "The idea that a 13-year-old kid would A) have a firearm to start with, and B) use it to fire at somebody three times over nothing. It's just scary."
Police said the suspect was arrested in May for stealing a cell phone at a bus stop. Ford was arrested that same month for burglary, authorities said.
Willie Hubbard, a 57-year-old night security guard who lives in the neighborhood, said crime is a growing problem in the area. He passed the group of teens while out for a walk on the night of the shooting. By the time he got around the block, paramedics were already there.
"I know police got their hands full, but they need to patrol the area more," he said.